This is as close as we can come to actually singing to our readers on their birthdays! 

We’d love to include yours – and/or your children’s birthdays here.

Just email to:

lynette@stunewslaguna.com

 

Celebrate and enjoy your

birthday!

 

March 21

Ed Smith

Kim Ressler

Lauran Roberson

Michael Dean

 

March 22

Chad Lane

Charles Michael Murray

John Gustafson

Michele Oliver Hall

Tommy Benson

 

March 23

 

March 24

Cathy Nokes

Charlotte Gulley

Christin Milan

Jenny Schmitz

Jim Schmitz

Laura Law

 

March 25

Britany Michaels

Bryan Gianesin

D’Anne Purcilly

Jason Farris

Julie Daw

Suzanne Redfearn

 

March 26

Gilles Sensenbrenner

Jeanette Cotinola

Lee Field

Rachiel Macalistaire

Robert Hansen

 

March 27

Annamaria Pope

H Charton

Laura Bailey

Paul Laos

Sound Spectrum

Faves

 

1.Shins, Heartworms

2. Ed Sheeran, Divide

Click on photo for a larger image

3. Thievery Corporation, The Temple Of I & I

4. Spoon, Hot Thoughts

5. The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Monolith Of Photos

6. Ryan Adams, Prisoner

7. Depeche Mode, Spirit

Click on photo for a larger image

8. Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface

9. Ty Segall, Ty Segall

10. La La Land, Soundtrack

11. Deadmau5, W:2016 Album

12. Elbow, Little Fictions

13. Tycho, Epoch

14. The XX, I See You   

15. Flaming Lips, OCZY Mlody

16. Lady Gaga, Joanne

Click on photo for a larger image

17. Bruno Mars, 24k Magic

18. Neil Young, Peace Trail

19. Rolling Stones, Blue & Lonesom

20. John Legend, Darkness & Light

Since 1967

1264 S. Coast Hwy494-5959

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Laguna Life And People 042914


Holly Morrell has a truly heart-warming tale to tell

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

Photos by MARY HURLBUT

Holly Morrell has a loving and compassionate heart. But it’s defective.

In all the good ways a heart can work; in caring for others, by giving back to the community, and enriching the world with her healthy spirit, Holly’s on top of the world. But in all the bad ways a heart can be broken, literally, that’s in her chest too.

Before she was born, people considered it a shame that her father’s mother had died so young. Even when her father’s sister died at the age of three, it was just one of those tragic things that happen. Thirty years ago the medical world considered cardiac arrest as a relationship to lifestyle, activity, or medication. 

But when Holly’s father, Chuck Morrell, was 57 years old he required a heart transplant, and then two of Chuck’s twin brother’s children died. One survived a full cardiac arrest at the age of 14. 

Finally, cardiologists at the National Institute of Health identified the genetic component doing its dirty work.

The Morrrell’s have suffered the loss of six of their 11 family members due to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). Today, two live with devices implanted in their chests to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, and one received a heart transplant in 2010, as Holly’s father did in 1995.

Holly Morrell, champion of the heart

Holly was diagnosed with the condition herself in 2002. She endures and lives to fight on, after multiple surgeries to correct her implanted heart devices, and a full open-heart surgery two years ago.

Caring for others

“When my cousins died, it had a major impact on me,” Holly said. “I still had not been diagnosed, but I knew I wanted to start a screening program in memory of my loved ones lost, and save young people. More often than not, this is a preventable tragedy.”

Holly set out to learn more about early detection of heart problems. Genetic abnormalities of the heart are rare, but there are many other types of abnormalities as well that can be detected before an unthinkable tragedy strikes. 

“Even seemingly normal, healthy young people – athletes – die from sudden cardiac arrest every three days,” is one of the sobering statistics that Holly is trying to defy. The youngest person she has identified with a heart defect so far was a 9 year-old, and the oldest is a 60 year-old. It can happen to anyone.

Fifteen years ago she begged and borrowed the necessary mobile equipment and set out to perform screenings at high school athletic physicals. The Heartfelt Cardiac Projects started with little more than Holly’s compassion and determined spirit. Heartfelt screenings are her raison d’etre.

Giving back

“I didn’t choose this. This chose me,” Holly says, “Maybe it’s the reason I’ve survived. I feel incredibly blessed, even privileged to find my purpose in life.” 

Putting aside the grief her family has endured, Holly accentuates the positive. “I’m serving my mission, and it is unbelievably rewarding to know that you’ve saved a life.”

To date, Heartfelt Cardiac Projects have performed more than 30,000 screenings. About 10% of all screenings find some anomaly, and 2% are potentially life-threatening. And every life matters.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Holly (right) with some of the kids whose hearts were saved

 thanks to Heartfelt screenings (left to right): Zack Berens, Ryan O’Hare, 

Cheyne Jernigan, and Dillon Gustafson

Enriching the world

One of the hardest things for non-profits and the big-hearted people who drive that engine of passion, is that there’s a business side required to make all the wheels move forward.

Heartfelt Cardiac Projects require screeners, all of whom have been volunteers so far, and expensive mobile equipment able to travel to the school sites they serve all over Southern California. To take this community-based service into the future, Heartfelt Projects would like some heartfelt partners. 

Donations are hugely important, as this small operation handles massive amounts of data, and utilizes precise equipment. A top of the line mobile screening machine, for example, runs in the vicinity of $80,000. “I’m not a fundraiser,” Holly says. “I was naïve and wanted to save lives and spare grief for others. Now I’m realizing I need help for growth.” To keep the non-profit screenings going forward, she has started a GoFundMe campaign with a modest fundraising goal of $25,000. 

She jokes, “I’m holding myself hostage! Send $1,000 ransom!”

In all seriousness, Holly hopes to raise enough money to buy a new portable echo-cardiogram. The Stu News Laguna community is invited to donate in any amount: http://www.gofundme.com/HeartfeltCardiacProjects

Strong-willed as she is, Holly could use extra hands on deck. One day she envisions having actual paid help. “I have great volunteers,” she said. “But I really need to be able to pay people to help me. I can’t do it alone.”

Heartfelt Cardiac Projects will be screening more than 1,000 students in the next couple of months including many at Laguna Beach High School.

The Laguna Beach School District through the Athletic Boosters will be making Heartfelt screenings available during the next athletics’ physicals on June 3 and 4. The screenings are $85. The same tests normally cost as much as $1500 and are usually not covered by insurance.

Journey to the top of the world

“I believe my life was spared in order for me to continue my life’s work,” said Holly. “Often the gift of purpose is found through great adversity.”

Holly has time on her side now, but she also knows that every minute is precious.

Sudden cardiac death occurs every 90 seconds in the U.S. That is an ironic fact for Holly as she notes that is the exact time she was given to live when her heart failed two years ago.

The surgeon who performed the open-heart surgery that saved her life appreciated the full impact of those 90 seconds. The problem area of Holly’s heart resided under her left collarbone, a difficult area to find and repair. “He told me months after the surgery that it had been a touch and go situation,” she said. “He really didn’t know if I’d make it. My blood pressure was plummeting, and I was bleeding out. He had 90 seconds to fix my heart. That’s all that separated me from life and death.”

Holly only remembers waking up briefly after the surgery. “He kissed me on my forehead, and said, ‘I’m glad you made it’.”

These days Holly is good as gold. She checks in with the doctor every three months, and does home monitoring where the device in her heart actually sends a signal through a system to the doctor’s phone. 

“Even though I tried to put on a brave face I truly had a hard time imagining any quality of life ever again. I was wrong!” she says. “I am beyond grateful. My life is both a miracle and a blessing and I wish to cherish every 90 seconds of it!”

She’s not sure the doctor would approve, but she’s feeling good enough to get back into tennis, and her former partners are thrilled. And her beautiful dog, Sophie, is happy to get back to long walks together.

Sophie loves a nice walk once again with her pal Holly

There is no reason to doubt this optimist and activist. Last year alone she saved eight people’s lives with early detection. Her Heartfelt project has detected thousands of young people with heart defects, and provides the service at an affordable price - a fraction of the cost it would be in hospital, and the outpouring of love and gratitude from the families of loved-ones she has helped to save is palpable. 

May Heartfelt Cardiac Projects grow and flourish just as Holly Morrell’s heart does.

Anyone, of any age, can schedule a screening at the website: www.heartfeltcardiacprojects.org

Laguna Craft Guild takes place March 26 on Main Beach

Come on down to the Laguna Craft Guild art show located on the cobblestones of Main Beach Sunday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to sundown. As always, this event is free.

Submitted photo

Laguna Craft Guild takes place Sunday March 26 on Main Beach

There are more than 30 different artists exhibiting unique and handmade arts and crafts, including painters, glassblowers, textile artists, potters, jewelers, & lots of others.

Bring friends, family, and dogs. For more information, visit www.lagunacraftguild.org.

Laguna Beach Books

Bi-weekly Bestsellers

Novels

Exit West by Mohsin Hamad

The Woman on the Stairs by Bernhard Schlink

A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

Non-Fiction

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes

Children’s Books

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Egg by Kevin Henkes

My Fabulous Fairy Tale Collection

Staff Recommendation

Hello World by Jonathan Litton

 

1200 S Coast Hwy

949.494.4779

www.lagunabeachbooks.com

Sawdust Studio Art 

The Sawdust Art Festival, in collaboration with Visit Laguna Beach, offers some exciting new classes to the Award-Winning Sawdust Studio Art Classes’ schedule for 2016.

The year-round art education program includes special classes in glass, fused glass, jewelry and ceramics.

Call 494-3030 for information and to reserve a class.

Students may register for all classes online or by calling 494-3030. 

Visit the website at: 

http://www.sawdustartfestival.org/studio-classes

 

Class Schedules

•••

Thursday, Mar 23

6 p.m.

More Torch Enameling

7 p.m.

Palm, Palm, Palms!

•••

Friday, Mar 24

1 p.m.

Watercolor & Ink Travel Journal Workshop

•••

Saturday, Mar 25

10 a.m. 1 p.m. 3 p.m.

Glassblowing

10 a.m.

Jeweler’s Saw

1 p.m.

 Oil Painting

•••


LBHS Schedules

Varsity

•••••

Tuesday, March 21

Boys Golf

Costa Mesa @ Ben Brown’s – 2:30 p.m.

Boys Tennis

Dana Hills – 3 p.m.

Boys Baseball

Godinez – 3:15 p.m.

Girls Sand Volleyball

El Toro @ Main Beach – 4 p.m.

•••••

Wednesday, March 22

Boys Tennis

@ Saddleback – 3 p.m.

Coed Swim

Calvary Chapel – 3:15 p.m.

Boys Baseball

@ Warren – 6 p.m.

•••••

Thursday, March 23

Coed Track

Godinez – 3 p.m.

Girls Softball

@ Bolsa Grande – 3:15 p.m.

Girls Sand Vollyeball

JSerra @ Main Beach – 4 p.m.

Boys Volleyball

@ Calvary Chapel – 5:30 p.m.

•••••

Friday, March 24

Coed Track

@ Mt. Carmel Invite - TBA

Boys Baseball

@ Costa Mesa – 3:15 p.m.

•••••

Saturday, March 25

Coed Track

@ Mt. Carmel Invite - TBA

Coed Swim

@ Mission Viejo Invitational - TBA

Girls Softball

@ Costa Mesa Tournament – TBA

•••••

 

Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena is the Publisher and Stu is the Editor-in-Chief.

Lynette Brasfield is our Managing Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising

949.315.0259

Email: StuNewsLaguna@Yahoo.com with news releases, letters, etc

949.510.5218